Cycling in Surrey
21 hand-picked ridesby Ross Hamilton
Publication Date: 05th Jan 2024
Illustrated cycling guide to Surrey: 21 handpicked routes, averaging 25 km, suitable for both beginner and leisure cyclists, especially those keen to learn about the county’s history, culture and wildlife. All routes link to OS Explorer Maps and National Cycle Network routes, while QR codes connect with downloadable GPX maps via the komoot app.
About this book
Bradt’s new cycling guide to Surrey – part of a growing series designed for the saddle bag – offers 21 routes, each including comprehensive directions plus contextual exploration of history, wildlife and culture, written by avid cyclist and historian Ross Hamilton. Each route links to OS Explorer maps and, where relevant, National Cycle Network routes, while QR codes connect with downloadable GPX maps via the komoot app, enabling navigation by smartphone. With a dedicated bike-hire section (so you have an alternative if your bicycle isn’t suitable for a particular ride) and accommodation suggestions, this book is an indispensable travel companion for two-wheeled adventures.
Once a relatively sparsely populated and rustic area despite its proximity to London, present-day Surrey is prime commuter-belt territory. Even so, the county has not lost its rural charm. As well as boasting many Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it is England’s most wooded county and is riddled with rivers including England’s longest, the mighty Thames. Moreover, Surrey has a long connection with cycling. When the riding craze first hit Britain in the 1800s, the Surrey town of Ripley was quickly dubbed the ‘Mecca of all good cyclists’. Surrey roads now make up much of the annual RideLondon event, itself an extension of the 2012 Olympic road-cycling route.
Collectively totalling 529 km, the handpicked selection of rides range from 14 to 44 km – averaging 25 km, which makes them perfect for a half-day outing. Many are looped circuits, and most begin and end at railway stations, making travel hassle-free. Most are aimed at beginners and leisure cyclists, while some offer adventurous riders a more challenging experience.
So whether you fancy riding Surrey’s numerous tree-cloaked country lanes or off-road networks, cycling between Medieval churches or along a Roman road, visiting Guildford Castle or Newark Abbey on two wheels, doffing your helmet to a four-thousand-year-old yew tree, biking between nature reserves and country houses, or having a drink at the UK’s smallest pub, Surrey is a superb cycling destination with something for everyone – making Bradt’s Cycling in Surrey brim with inspiration for cyclists of all ages and energy levels.
About the Author
Having spent much of his life in the saddle, Ross Hamilton has numerous bikes cluttering up the garage. These include a 1980s’ Raleigh Pursuit which he used to ride to school – and which, decades later, he used to cycle from coast to coast, following the route of Hadrian’s Wall. Hamilton has cycled all over southern England, from Kent to Cornwall. He completed RideLondon four years running to raise money for guide dogs and has also completed other famous rides such as the Nightrider (in London and Bristol) and the London to Brighton Cycle Ride. A former history teacher who also worked in the heritage sector and ran historical walking tours, Hamilton retains a particular fondness for his home county of Surrey, where he uses local knowledge and exploratory zeal to devise unusual routes taking in cyclist-friendly cafés, sites of historical interest and nature reserves.
Additional InformationTable of Contents
Introduction & Cycling Essentials.
Chapter 1 Bentley Loop (25.4km) Pass by the secret beach of Frensham Common and see the site where the legendary Devil’s Jumps occurred.
Chapter 2 Milford Loop (43.9km) Starting and finishing at Milford station. A mix of on and off road in Thursley Common Nature Reserve.
Chapter 3 Frimley Loop (18.3km) Starting and finishing at Frimley Station. Ride along the Blackwater River and Basingstoke canal
Chapter 4 Addlestone to Virginia Water (34.9km) Follow the River Wey and Basingstoke Canal before passing over Chobham Common and the infamous Treacle Mines.
Chapter 5 Witley Loop (26.3kkm) Passing stunning countryside with picturesque villages and historic churches and taking in a drink from the Hascombe Water Fountain.
Chapter 6 Guildford Castle Loop (17km) Starting & finishing at the ruins of Guildford Castle. Follow the River Wey and an abandoned railway line before passing through the quirky village of Wonersh.
Chapter 7 Ripley Loop (14.1km) Starting & finishing in Ripley (the end point of the historically important bike ride), mostly off-road following river paths whilst passing the ruins of Newark Abbey.
Chapter 8 East Horsley to West Clandon (26.3km) Starting and finishing at stations on the same line. Passing through some beautiful Surrey villages finishing up in West Clandon, site of the battle between a dragon and a dog.
Chapter 9 Ockham Figure Eight Loop (20.1km) Starting & finishing at Effingham Junction station. Pass by the Black Swan pub, used in films such as An American Werewolf in London as well as the only surviving semaphore tower in England.
Chapter 10 Cranleigh Abandoned Railway Line (38.5km) Follow a long stretch of the only Surrey line shut during the Beaching cuts. Make the return journey through the Surrey Hills, an area of outstanding natural beauty.
Chapter 11 Gomshall Loop (22.2km) Ride along numerous tree-covered country lanes, passing through a number of picturesque villages with beautiful pubs and Abinger Roughs.
Chapter 12 Holmwood Station to Ockham Station (20km) Take in some beautiful countryside and National Trust locations, all in the shadow of Leith Hill, the highest point in Surrey.
Chapter 13 Esher Loop (17km) Pass the smallest pub in the UK – Platform 3 in Claygate – and ride over Ashtead National Nature Reserve.
Chapter 14 Horsey to Effingham (23.9km) Start at Effingham Station & finish at Horsey Station. Mostly paved with a short but steep uphill segment.
Chapter 15 Epsom Loop (30.1km) Riding over common land along with seeing the birthplace of Epsom Salts and some Roman remains.
Chapter 16 Dorking Loop (21km) Riding down some beautiful back roads taking in a number of pretty villages and passing by what remains of Newdigate Brickworks.
Chapter 17 Betchworth Loop (34.1km) Taking in some of the least populated parts of Surrey, there is plenty of countryside to enjoy as well as churches and pubs dating back to the 15th & 16th centuries.
Chapter 18 Bletchingly Loop (22.4km) Follow a Roman Road, some historical churches and a 1000-year-old pond
Chapter 19 Dormanland Loop (24.6km) Ride along picturesque country roads, visiting some historical churches, the Lingfield Cage and the Crowhurst yew, a tree believed to be 4000 years old.
Chapter 20 Wordlingham Loop (19.6km) Take in the stunning views of the North Downs as well as visiting the beautiful village green of Tatsfield, including a restaurant with its own tower. Take a detour to visit the highest pub in Surrey, The Plough at Coldharbour
Chapter 21 Oxted to Hurst Green (29.7km) Visit the village of Limpsfield which has 89 listed buildings. You can also visit some stunning churches, with one dating back almost 1000 years, and the Tandridge Yew which is believed to be date back to the time of the Roman occupation.
Chapter 22 Appendices: accommodation, bike hire, further info & acknowledgements.
Chapter 23 Index